Mindfulness and Creativity: Q and A with the Columbus Museum of Art Teaching for Creativity Institute
What does mindfulness have to do with creativity? So much. Check out this Q and A with CMA‘s Teaching for Creativity Institute from an event I did on January 21 on mindfulness and self-care to find out more.
How does mindfulness assist in the creative process?
Does it get easier to be mindful? How will I know when I grow?
On November 9, I facilitated a Writer’s Workshop at the Educational Service Center. Below you will find the Q and A and some resources I use for the event.
To begin, here is a link to the Power Point used in the workshop. In addition, here are other resources you may find helpful:
- Overview of writers workshop (handout)
- Writer’s workshop coaching sheet
- Writer’s workshop note taking sheet
- Writers workshop revision record
Also, here are the TEDTalks from Brene Brown on vulnerability and shame that I mentioned.
There is an enchanting beauty found along the simplest paths of life. Mostly this is a metaphor, but sometimes, if you are open enough, it is literal, too.
Last Sunday on an early-morning walk so cold that our fingertips were icy-cold bits of numbness, I had to dance and skip alongside Mel to keep from becoming too chilled. Despite the cold, however, we walked for hours, and along the path we encountered some wondrous little surprises that enchanted us both.
While researching for my play workshop, I came across an interesting concept called neoteny. According to the Scientific American article “Being More Infantile Might Have Led to Bigger Brains,” neoteny is “the retention of juvenile features.” For example, humans have big eyes, flatter faces and far less body hair than a mature chimpanzee, our closest ancestor. Basically, we have many of the features of a baby monkey. We have a slower maturation process than chimps, too.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
Lectio Divina, or “divine reading” is traditionally a form of contemplative practice from the Christian faith tradition where one studies scripture seeking messages from God.
Today, it can also be used as a contemplative practice where one meditates on a text of choice, often times a poem, seeking individual connections and meanings.
“Fundamentally, both art and science are about encounters with the real world — the one we live in and experience as colors, textures, shapes and sounds. Every artistic creation and every scientific study is a record of experimentation. At their best those experiments are rooted in two vital qualities: interest and attention… Interest and attention allow us to live lives that are rich in meaning, lives that are passionate about noticing the everyday miracles right in front of us.”
-“Where Art and Science Meet, Exactly,” Adam Frank
My little Sawyer is a scientist. He is an artist. And he doesn’t have a problem with blending the two. Hopefully his little world will stay creative like this forever. Hopefully he never gets the message that we have to be one thing or the other. Or really one of anything, totally.
A few weeks ago, he ordered a science kit online and one of the projects was to blend colored water in test tubes. He sat in the bathtub and made his science project into an artistic expression- a temporary rainbow.
Where do you find intersections between art and science in daily life?
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Pressing feet into fall leaves,
feeling the breeze
the crunch and crumble,
between my toes
Last week I worked with some amazingly creative and engaged teachers from a variety of backgrounds facilitating a workshop on mindful creativity. The Q and A below is a result of questions from participants left on exit tickets, followed by my responses.
- Why “mindfulness”? Any special reason for picking that word?
This is a really good question that gave me pause. I looked up the root of the word and came upon this document published by the National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine. In short: mindfulness itself simply means intentional awareness to the moment, which is innately human and certainly not new. The formal practice of mindfulness has its root in Buddhism, and according to this article by Siegel, Germer, and Olendzki:
“‘Mindfulness,’ as used in ancient texts, is an English translation of the Pali word, sati, which connotes awareness, attention, and remembering. (Pali is the language in which the teachings of the Buddha were originally recorded. The first dictionary translation of sati into “mindfulness” dates to 1921 (Davids & Stede, 1921/2001).”
- What is the difference between mindfulness and self-consciousness?
Mindfulness is about cultivating present-moment awareness and self-compassion. Self-consiousness does not necessarily equate to either of these outcomes. One can be aware of one’s self, particularly as viewed through the eyes of others or through the critical self, in ways that are neither objectively aware or self-compassionate. In addition, while mindfulness may create space or distance from thoughts, self-consciousness alone may increase one’s engagement with thoughts, particularly those about the self.
I am hosting a workshop at the Wexner Center for the Arts for Capital (or COTA) day on October 16 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. called Mindful Creativity which is FREE and open to ALL teachers!
Here is a blurb about it from the Wexner Center website:
What does it mean to be “present”—to notice the colors and textures of our everyday surroundings? How does this “presence” apply to one’s process as an artist, a writer, a thinker, or an explorer of the world? Answering these questions and more will be the focus of this year’s Capital Day, Mindful Creativity. Learn how mindfulness works and what it looks like in practice. Investigate creativity through this lens to explore the world of art and artistry together using the exhibition After Picasso: 80 Contemporary Artists as inspiration. Consider ways that you can take this new knowledge to your students to enhance their own presence in the world and their abilities as explorers and artists. Come prepared to write, discuss, reflect, and practice mindfulness strategies.
You can register for the workshop on the Wexner Center website at this link. There is a gray box in the top right corner that says “register.”